Samantha Myers – Let’s Dress Up – Fairy Tale Themed Playspace for Kids in the Heart of New York City
by Jed Morley
Aim higher. Be bold when it's still scary to do it. - Samantha Myers
Samantha Myers and Judy Famigletti are the duo behind Let’s Dress Up, a fairytale-themed playspace for kids in the heart of New York City. Samantha left a lengthy career in Financial Services in 2018 to be an entrepreneur and joined forces with Judy at Let’s Dress Up. She is also a mom to a school-aged child in the same demographic as their customers!
Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Samantha Meyers: Let’s Dress Up is a fairy tale-themed play and party space for kids ages 3-8. We host birthday parties, themed events, class parties, and holiday camps. At all of our events, children dress up with all the accessories imaginable and then sit down to a tea party. You cannot imagine the magic unless you see your child smiling ear to ear while wearing clip-on earrings. It truly is a unique and nostalgic experience in today’s busy and over-scheduled world. We have been on the Upper East Side for over a decade and are just now in the process of opening a second location downtown!
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Samantha Meyers: I left college having no idea what I wanted to do, I was exploring all possible options from being a teacher to selling Yankee tickets door to door to hotel management. Then I stumbled on a book about the stock market. I was intrigued so I got myself an entry-level job at a Wall Street firm. I took the Series 7 and I loved my job, the pace, the information, the environment. I kept working at it, had the good fortune to end up with some really great bosses, mentors, and team members (and a few not-so-great ones that still taught me some valuable lessons). I had stumbled into a match made in heaven.
Until after 20 years, I was burned out. The business had changed, I had seen it from many sides and I was restless. And if I was going to leave my field, I decided it was going to have to be a big leap. I had worked for other people and companies for so long and I was ready to have something to call my own, to be my own boss, to bet on myself, and use everything I had learned.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Samantha Meyers: I love crime dramas. Give me the couch and a good Dateline mystery and I am happy. I love trying to figure out who did it, what is the evidence, motive, and everything in between. In my next life, I am coming back as a detective.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Samantha Meyers: There are so many misconceptions about being an entrepreneur. It can come in many shapes and sizes and industries, but to me, an entrepreneur is a passionate, hard-working, extremely motivated, self-starter. It is hustle, grit, taking the responsibility on yourself, not passing the buck (because there is no one to pass it to, by the way). They can be born or made over the course of experiences.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Samantha Meyers: At Let’s Dress Up, we believe in collaboration over competition. A rising tide lifts all boats. We work with many other like-minded businesses and are the better for it, we share ideas, cross-market, and cheerlead for each other. The more we listen to different ideas, the better our business and our community can be. As a women-owned business working in a business with many young girl customers, we take our role of being a positive influence very seriously.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Samantha Meyers:COVID changed so many things and disrupted the status quo. I think leaders need to take what they have learned over the last 18 months and move forward. Rethink what works and what doesn’t. Leaders can operate in the weeds of the day-to-day, but then step back to look big picture and set new goals. Aim higher. Be bold when it’s still scary to do it.
If a 5 year old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Samantha Meyers: This is a good one for me because our ideal customer is 5 years old so I get asked a lot of crazy things. I say I own a kids tea party space. They usually want to know if that makes me a princess (yes) and if I wear the dresses myself (no). But they also see me checking people in safely, cleaning up, and fixing the broken toilet (okay calling someone to fix it). My daughter is 7 and she has a behind-the-scenes view of being an entrepreneur and small business owner and I am so proud of that.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Samantha Meyers: I am in it right now with opening a second location. It is big for us, risky. But we believe in the concept and our business model withstood COVID so we are ready to go for it. I am hoping it will be all unicorns and positive impact, but we will have to wait and see.
Since the jury is out on that, I will share a story of the time we let go of a longtime employee. It was a very difficult decision for us and unfortunately, it was in a highly dramatic fashion. We tried to work through it, but in the end, the demands were too high and it had become toxic. We had to stick to our policy and prove to everyone else that we were doing what was right for the business. We all ended up being better off for it.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Samantha Meyers: Knowing all the words to songs…especially useless since I have a terrible voice. Sad but true.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Samantha Meyers: I am going with “From Finance to Fairy Tales”.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Samantha Myers for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Samantha Myers or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram